Buffalo Man Saves Two Dozen From Blizzard

Extremely deep snow piled over the windowsills

Photo: Getty Images

A man in Buffalo, New York, is being hailed a hero after breaking into a school and saving the lives of two dozen people from a deadly blizzard. During the Christmas snowstorm that dropped 50 inches of snow on the area, 27-year-old Cheektowaga resident Jay Withey found himself stuck in the whiteout conditions. "The wind blowing, the snow falling … You couldn't see the tip of your fingers of your own hand," he recalls.

Desperate to find someplace warm to take refuge, Jay broke into a nearby school. But instead of just staying there, he braved the storm again to go out and rescue other people stranded in their vehicles close to the school. "I go to them and tell them I've broken into the school and that there’s heat in there," he says. "It was a matter of survival. It was just a very scary situation to be in.”

Inside the school, the group of strangers found food, water and blankets to help stay warm. By the time police showed up to the school to investigate the break-in, the strangers had left. They’d cleaned up after themselves and the only thing left was a note from Jay apologizing for having to break into the school. Local police were eventually able to identify Jay - known as “Merry Christmas Jay” - and after learning what had happened, declared that he was a hero and thanked him for his heroic actions.

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